With all these school shootings, it is obvious that these troubled kids felt it was easier to shoot at their peers, than to fit in. Maybe we need to look at how condescending some teenagers can be. If people were more nice there wouldn't be that many shootings. #walkupnotwalkout pic.twitter.com/6khbrc76Hg— Daniel Greco (@Ecogreco) March 17, 2018
Following the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many people criticized the Parkland students for launching a national school walkout day. They argued that instead, kids should walk up to another student feeling lonely or out of place.
Thanks to the #WalkUpNotOut Feb. 19 Facebook post by a retired Texas junior and high school teacher, David Blair, the movement spread. And many people online urged students to be more proactive in trying to help kids with mental health issues.
But in an op-ed for The New York Times, a Stoneman Douglas student and former classmate of shooter Nikolas Cruz explained just why she believes this argument falls flat.
Isabelle Robinson wrote that as a 12-year-old, Cruz had assaulted her by throwing an apple at her back.
“The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes,” she wrote.
And as she looked back, she saw Cruz, “smirking.”
“His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry,” she said.
In Opinion,— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 27, 2018
Isabelle Robinson, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, writes, "The idea that we are to blame, even implicitly, for the murders of our friends and teacher, is a slap in the face to all victims and survivors." https://t.co/oORwZ6hW2i
Just one year after this alarming incident, she explained, Robinson was assigned to tutor Cruz as a peer counselor. The young Robinson was then left alone with the teen, who would end up killing 17 of her teachers and classmates.
“Looking back, I am horrified. I now understand that I was left, unassisted, with a student who had a known history of rage and brutality,” she wrote.
Explaining that even after she was assigned to help Cruz, nothing really seemed to get through to him. Therefore, claiming that if his “classmates and peers had been a little nicer to him, the shooting at Stoneman Douglas would never have occurred,” Robinson wrote, is almost as if critics were trying to blame the students for being victims.
“This deeply dangerous sentiment, expressed under the #WalkUpNotOut hashtag, implies that acts of school violence can be prevented if students befriend disturbed and potentially dangerous classmates,” she wrote. “The idea that we are to blame, even implicitly, for the murders of our friends and teachers is a slap in the face to all Stoneman Douglas victims and survivors.”
On Twitter, users sympathized with her account and her arguments.
Many highlighted portions of her op-ed that explained that while there are a lot of students who are reachable, others are just not going to change when treated with kindness.
Any one who ever attended school knows that some of the marginalized kids are reachable, and some aren't. To blame these students for not fixing what the adults around him could not is reprehensible. https://t.co/PV7bvACeO0— Quinn Cummings (@quinncy) March 27, 2018
Everyone needs to read this article by my friend Isabelle. The shooter that killed our friends at our school harassed and bullied our peers even before the shooting. https://t.co/gLYvJmqhJ7— Hannah // Survivor//MSD Strong (@Han_inthemirror) March 27, 2018
Eerily, the day before the shooting, Isabelle was telling me and a group of our friends this story. He was infamous and still came up in conversations, and we all agreed unanimously that we were nothing but scared of him. https://t.co/MHetj4HYLh— Nikhita Nookala (@nikta04) March 27, 2018
"The implication that Cruz’s mental health issues could have been solved if only he had been loved more by his fellow students is both a gross misunderstanding of how these diseases work and a dangerous suggestion that puts children on the front line." https://t.co/p8x4dsjBnX— Ethan Silverberg (@IndpndntManchld) March 27, 2018
"No amount of kindness or compassion alone would have changed the person that Nikolas Cruz is and was, or the horrendous actions he perpetrated. That is a weak excuse for the failures of our school system, our government and our gun laws." https://t.co/iiAAafXyb1— Missing 44 ?? (@SheilaInCT) March 27, 2018
#walkupnotout asks students to take responsibility for the mental health of their classmates, suggesting that school shootings are *their fault* for not being "nicer." It's victim-blaming. Stop it.— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 14, 2018
It's baffling to me that people think that instead of making it harder for a troubled teenager with a history of violence to get his hands on an AR-15, we should just tell students to "be nice" and hope he doesn't shoot them. Good grief.— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 14, 2018
Of course I want to see students reach out to one another and be kind to one another! But offering a hug to a troubled student is not going to magically solve significant mental health challenges where clinical care is needed, nor will it protect against an AR-15...— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) March 14, 2018
Some highlighted the absurdity of asking young girls to be nice to boys like Cruz. Like many mass shooters, Cruz had a history of domestic abuse. Is that the kind of people they should be kind to?
So many men involved in mass shootings have one thing in common-- domestic violence. The Parkland shooter is included in this list. It's so damaging to tell girls that they just need to be nicer to guys like this. #walkupnotwalkout #WalkUp #walkout— Panayiota Bertzikis (@panayiotab) March 16, 2018
One user even made the argument that if bullying were to blame for violent behavior at all times, then we would be seeing a lot more cases of mass shootings.
if bullying caused school shootings, you would see trans shooters, queer shooters, female shooters, POC shooters.— Eden Cheung (@edennnnnn) March 21, 2018
bullying does not cause school shootings; entitlement does. and white boys are the most entitled demographic by far.
While it's important to teach our kids to be helpful and kind, it is also important to seek other more efficient solutions to the gun violence epidemic.
As one Twitter user explained, instead of blaming victims for the attack, we must work on not allowing teens with a history of violence or mental problems to have access to weapons.